Water Starts A Fire


  1. To show that a single drop of water can display a violent and vivid reaction between normally nonreactive materials.


  1. Water
  2. Iodine crystals
  3. Powdered aluminum
  4. Metal pan
  5. Mortar and pestle


  1. Powder some iodine crystals in amortar and mix this powder with an equal volume of powdered aluminum. MAKE SURE BOTH SUBSTANCES ARE COMPLETELY DRY.
  2. Place a little mound of the mixture in the center of the metal pan.
  3. Make a small depression in the top of the mound.
  4. (Due to the reaction that occurs, it is advised that this be done outdoors, or under a fume hood.) Add 2 or 3 drops of water in the depression on top of the mound, and STAND BACK!!
  5. Instantly, purple-red vapors will rise from the heap. The mound will then burst into a beautiful purple-red flame, accompanied by a large volume of smoke.


  1. What allows there to be a reaction between the iodine and the aluminum?
  2. What color was the flame that appeared?